The Music of Tomboy: Ella Fitzgerald

Music plays in the background of several scenes in my 1950s coming-of-age romance novella Tomboy. Her father is a jazz aficionado and loves to play records every chance he gets. He’s particularly fond of Ella Fitzgerald.

There are three of her songs that appear in the story:

Black Coffee

This standard was published in 1948 and first recorded by Sarah Vaughan. Ella Fitzgerald recorded it as a single sometime between 1949 and 1954, and it was re-released on Miss Ella Fitzgerald & Mr. Gordon Jenkins Invite You to Listen and Relax from Decca Records. She recorded it again in 1960 for the soundtrack to the movie Let No Man Write My Epitaph.

They Can’t Take that Away from Me

Fitzgerald performed this with Louis Armstrong in their 1956 Verve Records album Ella and Louis—the first of three albums they would record for Verve before the decade was over.

I don’t call out this song by name in Tomboy, but I think you’ll figure out which scene it’s in if you pay attention to the lyrics.

Under a Blanket of Blue

This song plays directly after “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” on the Ella and Louis album and also in Tomboy. That’s a good clue for locating both songs in the story—just look for the place where two Ella and Louis songs get played in a row.

For more posts on the background to Tomboy, check out my Tomboy history tag.

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tomboy book cover

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